The Wolf and the Silence of the Lamb

Azhar Harun

We have to admit it. That democracy is a flawed system within a bigger political pool consisting of systems which are even more flawed is a fact.

That we live within a flawed system out of necessity or the lack of a better alternative – as all the other systems are thought to be worse – is disconcerting, to say the least.

The core of democracy is representation. It is a system of governance where the people are represented by representatives who are elected by the people. These representatives then form a government. The government than governs the people. A state is then formed, consisting of the government and the people it governs.

In theory therefore, the people are actually governing themselves. The representatives, who are elected by the people, are the voice of the people. The state therefore is the manifestation of the people's wishes and desires, expressed through the government which consists of the representatives chosen and elected by the people. Abraham Lincoln, in his famed Gettysburg address, thus aptly described his government as "a government of the people, by the people and for the people".

Karl Marx has his utopia, which is a nation where the people work as one towards achieving a common desire. Where individualism and individualistic needs and objectives are suppressed all in the name of the one and only desire, namely the desire of the state, the one state, so to speak. Utopia is therefore not unlike an ant colony. Or a bee colony. But Marx forgets that the suppression of individualism and individualistic needs and objectives is a denial, and in fact is a transgression of liberty which the state is supposed to protect in the first place. How could liberty be protected by mass suppression?